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Mark Kaczkowski's Radio Weblog

A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle. Kahlil Gibran

Last Build Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 19:54:10 GMT

Copyright: Copyright 2002 Mark Kaczkowski

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (6/04/02)

  • Develop your own personal knowledge management strategy. A simple concept, but if you can’t figure out what knowledge you want to maintain personally, how can you figure it out for an organization?
  • KM requires discernment and discovery not absorption and recall.

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (5/28/02)

  • A key takeaway for me was from Barbara’s presentation on implementing communities and discussion boards. In order to get CEO’s to use the system, they trained the secretaries or key assistants. Smart thinking.
  • The second key takeaway was the number of lessons learned in implementing a discussion board. Some of the more important ones for me were:
    • Pilot projects should be targeted and specific with key end points.
    • Give the users a safety outlet – items can be deleted after posting.
    • Create a non-intimidating category for everyone to post to – ex: a vacation community for people to post favorite vacation spot.
    • Develop guidelines on when communities should be used and under what circumstances that it should not be used (i.e. if you need urgent information, don’t post and hope someone will respond)
    • Don’t automatically subscribe people to list servers or automatic messages, let them subscribe themselves.
    • Give a community 6-12 months to develop. Do not do a knee-jerk reaction and pull the community too soon.

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (5/21/02)

  • A big thanks to Jenny Levine for sharing how electronic communication is changing. Here theme of portability and having information where you are sounds like the basis of a knowledge management system.
  • One of the concepts we have discussed in class is that in order to change the culture of a company to adopt a knowledge management system, you may need to wait a generation for new hires to become senior managers of a company. With all of the new electronic communication devices that the Net Generation is embracing, I am beginning to believe that we may actually start moving to a true paperless company.
  • One concern that I have after each week is information overload. It seems to me that you can be inundated with information, but how do you find the needle in the haystack – the one nugget of information that you need? One way is to make sure the information is organized properly and kept up to date. But I think there will be an increased role for information agents – people or software or devices that can enable you to find the needle you are looking for.

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (5/14/02)

  • One of my biggest takeaways from class was Walt Henderson’s distinction between knowledge and information. While I know Jim has been hesitant about defining knowledge and information and is probably cringing that this was a takeaway for me, but this helped to clarify some of the concepts we are discussing in class. For the record, I took away that Walt defined information is patterned data; something that has value. Knowledge is the using of patterned data; knowledge has humans involved; it is in the interpretation/filtering of information, based on experience.
  • The second key takeaway for me was that knowledge becomes obsolete incredibly fast. We have spent time in class discussing building a knowledge management system/process, but how do you maintain it? More importantly, how do you decide when to remove obsolete information?
  • Not sure if I completely agree with the statement in the article that you need to fail to learn. I think many people learn by analyzing someone else’s mistakes (case studies, for example). The key is that you have to acknowledge that those same mistakes could happen to you if you were in a similar situation. In hindsight, many people would say that they would have never shredded those documents the way that Andersen did. But to learn from that mistake, I think you have to put yourself in the same situation, with the same revenue pressures and client demands and the same historical relationship. In that scenario, I think some people would have done the same thing. The key learning is how to avoid a similar situation.

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (5/7/02)

  • Maybe I’m beginning to understand this because for the first time in several weeks I did not have too many "Ah Has!" in class. Although I still think I have plenty of room of "Ah Has!" because the last few minutes of class were a little confusing.
  • "When Bad Things Happen to Good Ideas" article by Eric Berkman: Despite the cynical commentary in class, I think there may be some good coming out of the "swarms of souvenir hawkers" that are selling knowledge management software. The activity and publicity around knowledge management does raise awareness of the concept. The problem is that awareness is smothered by overhype promised by the software vendors.
  • Troubling thought around the privacy and security issues of maintaining a corporate weblog, even if it is internal to the company. Thinking about it, the logs could probably be taken as the de facto corporate policy, even if they contradict official corporate policy. Because it is written, it becomes a lot easier to capture.

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (4/30/02)

  • In thinking about the class discussion on tools, I think tool selection is probably the last thing that you would need to implement a knowledge management project. I like the idea of starting with how knowledge management is currently occurring in the organization. Then take small incremental steps on how to improve it. See what works in one area and see if it could be adapted to another department. If you slam in a system or tool, you can probably get it installed, but I don’t think you would be able to get people to use it.
  • I agree completely that determining what the right question to ask is important, but also using the right terminology and jargon. However, does this lead to creating a knowledge management system in order to learn how to use a knowledge management system?
  • Most intriguing concept from the discussion was that storytelling should be part of a business student’s curriculum. Whenever we write a deck at Kraft, the key question is always what is the story we are trying to tell? Does anyone know how feasible it is for an evening student to take a storytelling class?

Tuesday Night Takeaways – My Random Thoughts from Class (4/23/02)

  • I like the description of the course as being part technology, part philosophy. I would add that it should also be one part theology because you need faith and religion that this will all come together by the end of class.
  • I think I am finally understanding the concept of a weblog. The key for me was the comment in class to think of it as a journal, rather than only a place to post and discuss articles. I had it in my head that this was similar to a discussion group. I think that somebody suggested that this is similar to a discussion group, but you are writing for yourself.
  • One question raised in class was if Knowledge Management involves moving culture. I think if it is done well, there has to be a shift in culture. The organization needs to embrace knowledge management both top-down and bottom-up. Bottom-up is the better way to start a knowledge management process, but to be embraced by the entire organziation, it also needs a top-down approach, with upper management approval and funding.

Mark Kaczkowski Biography

I am currently working on target marketing for Kraft Foods. That means I get to figure out the consumers which will be part of various marketing programs. I work on both brand and corporate programs. Before Kraft, I did basically the same thing for Abbott Laboratories in their Pharmaceutical Products Divisions. The biggest differences from Kraft is that at Abbott we targeted physicians and managed care organizations rather than consumers and we got to sell drugs rather than food. I worked at Andersen Consulting before joining Abbott. When I started, Consulting was a division of Arthur Andersen. [Insert your favorite Arthur Andersen joke here.] Andersen was my first job out of college, which was the University of Illinois